If you're not already enjoying panna cotta on a regular basis, you need to start STAT. This is a dream of a summer dessert, invented by those sun-drenched Italians, and kicks the pants off the insta-boxes of powdered horse hooves masquerading as pudding. And it is SO easy.
What is it? Well, according to Alan Davidson, panna cotta is "an Italian dessert made with cream and sugar mixed together and brought to a simmer with some added milk and a little gelatin, then moulded and chilled. If a flavouring is used, it should be delicate." Traditionally, it divvied into individual ramekins, then released with a sharp knife and inverted onto your dessert plate. It can be flavored in myriad ways and garnished with fresh berries and compotes, chocolates and caramels, or anything else your sweet tooth is dying to gnaw on.
This recipe uses yogurt (instead of the more traditional milk) which gives it a nice tang, and is made to be eaten straight out of the mold--no inversion necessary. We enjoyed it plain because it was so pure with the natural sweetness of the honey, but would be perfect with some macerated berries or thinly sliced stone fruits.
Honey-Sweetened Panna Cotta
(from Gourmet, July 2008--serves 1-2)
1/3 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 Tbsp water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup yogurt (low-/no-fat is fine)
1 Tbsp honey
- Put the water into your smallest saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over top and let soften 1 minute. Whisk in cream and turn on medium-low heat, gently warming until gelatin is dissolved (just a couple of minutes -- do not boil). In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, honey, and vanilla.
- Off heat, whisk yogurt mixture into cream. Divide between two (very) small ramekins -- or just one for a single serving. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.